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Super Savings Saturday: Five bottles of laundry detergent for $0.99 each!

I’m incredibly late in getting this posted today. I was gone most of the day and didn’t have a chance to sit down and type up what we purchased at the grocery store this week.

My biggest score was the five bottles of Era Laundry Detergent I got for $0.99 each. A local store was running their Double Dollar coupon promotion and had these priced at $2.99. Plus, there was a $1/1 coupon available — which made them only $0.99 after the doubled coupon.

I really wanted to hit this sale as we only had about a week’s worth of laundry detergent left, but I didn’t need anything else in the Double Dollar promotion and didn’t want to make a special trip just for laundry detergent (especially since you can only use three of the same coupons per transaction — so it’s really not worth a ten minute drive there and back to get three bottles of laundry detergent). Well, a friend of mine didn’t know that I was really wishing I could get in on this deal, but she happened to pick up five bottles and then asked me if I wanted them since they are very well-stocked-up on laundry detergent.

Isn’t that cool? It just felt like a special blessing from God to me. And now we’re stocked up on laundry detergent for quite some time!

Amy from Amy’s Finer Things also stopped by because she was in town and brought me my order from the Bulk Food Store. Long story short, Laura from Heavenly Homemakers had picked it up for me and I was supposed to pick it up when I met up with she and Amy when she was in Kansas two months ago. But I didn’t get to meet up with them at the last minute so Amy kept it and promised to get it to me whenever she made the trek from Tiny Town to the city.

So now I’m stocked up on unbleached flour and turbinado — and just in time for Freezer Cooking Day this next week!

Amy also brought me a bottle of Laura’s Homemade Vanilla. I tell you what, I learn so much from the blogosphere! I never would have considered the possibility of making my own vanilla. But Laura’s inspired me and I just might try it once I run out of hers.

I also bought three dozen farm-fresh eggs from my brother and Jesse made a quick trip to the store to get 2 gallons of milk, 2 gallons of chocolate milk, 2 tubs of cottage cheese and a big bag of chicken (um, can you tell we’ve changed our diets a little? Stay tuned for Monday’s update on how P90X on a Budget is going!). We ended up not needing to get any produce because I used what we already had on hand.

After everything was said and done, we came in a little under $40 in grocery expenditures this week.

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Did you snag any great deals or bargains this week or save money in other ways? If so, be sure to post about them on your blog and leave your link below. Please remember that this weekly round-up is to share deals you personally got and/or money you were able to save this week. In order to keep this weekly round-up focused on helping and inspiring others in their efforts to save money, links which have little-to-no content other than promoting affiliate links, etc. will be deleted. Also, to make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post.

Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom: A blessing in disguise

If you’ve missed the first posts in this series, read them here.

While in our first year of having the custom wedding business, we had our first baby. Needless to say, my life was forever changed – in a wonderful way. At the same time, though, I found it was hard to juggle the demands of a fussy newborn, with coordinating the details of the wedding business.

While I was pregnant and had a lot of extra time on my hands, I had experimented with various additional streams of income to add to our current website. One of those was selling books. I started off with books on preparing for marriage and when I saw that there was a market, I kept expanding to other good books and resources our family has appreciated.

I also was getting the itch to write, so I wrote a small booklet on some small ideas girls and teens could do to earn money from home. We had very little extra business money to work with, so I had a friend edit it and bartered with another friend for the cover design. In order to come up with enough money to pay for a tiny print run of the books, I ran a pre-publication special with my current email list.

Much to my surprise, I sold 100 booklets during the pre-publication special and had enough to pay for a print run of 200. It seems like such a microscopic number, but for me, it was huge.

A few weeks after I released the ebook, a small family business contacted me and asked if I’d sell them ebook rights to my book for $100. I didn’t really even know what an ebook was, let alone know how to turn my book into one, but $100 was a big number at that point, so my husband and I felt it would be a good move. The friend who designed the booklet layout kindly availed herself to turn the book into an ebook for me for $25.

So, I sold the rights to the ebook to this other company (by selling the rights, I gave them permission to sell an unlimited number of ebooks through their site for whatever price they chose) and I entered this whole new world of ebooks. I’d never given any thought to the possibility of someone paying you for a download, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to offer the ebook on my site. I was completely surprised to discover there is quite a big market for ebooks — especially simple how-to ebooks — and I started concocting other future ebook ideas.

While all this was going on, the wedding business was continuing to demand a lot of my time and it was producing little income. And we were still just barely limping by. We were beginning to see more profit from our business — but that was mainly from the sale of books.

I started to wonder if maybe I should discontinue the wedding business and just focus on selling books, since that’s what seemed to be working. But it was really embarrassing to me to think of having to admit the wedding business hadn’t worked out. I wasn’t a quitter like that and I figured there had to be a way to make it work.

Well, guess what? The next two dress projects turned out to be disasters. The customers were very upset with the work and it was weeks of pulling my hair out and trying to figure out how to fix the issues and make the customers satisfied. But it was to no avail.

My husband and I really felt that God used these difficult situations to make me willing to close down Covenant Wedding Source. It was hard and humbling to do, but it was the best thing for our family and my sanity. And I also needed to focus the time I did have on things which would be profitable.

For months, I struggled with feeling like a failure over the fact that the business didn’t work out. Now that I look back, though, I realize just what a blessing in disguise this was. Not only did I learn such valuable lessons through failure, but I also go this crazy idea to start a blog. Little did I know what those feeble blogging attempts would lead to!

But first, I had a lot more lessons to learn and experience to gain.

…To be continued next Friday

ABC News: How to Work From Home

I loved this video and article from ABC News on How To Work From Home. And I was especially excited to see them feature my friend, SarahMae, from Like a Warm Cup of Coffee (whom I get to meet at Relevant in October!).

While these ideas might not work for you or your situation, they very well might serve as inspiration for something you can do. I truly believe — especially with the advent of the internet — that anyone can work from home successfully if you’re willing to be creative, work very hard and persevere.

Looking for some ideas and help in getting started earning money from home? Check out my Income-Earning Ideas page.

We Paid Cash! :: We bought a motorhome

We paid cash!

Testimonial from Leslie

We had been looking for over a year for a motorhome for our family. Our kids are 10, 7, and 5 and we thought it was the perfect time to be “making memories” with them. We had been saving up and knew we wanted to pay cash, so we couldn’t get something over our budgeted amount.

My father-in-law kept telling us to get something nicer and we could just write off the interest as a second home. But, in order to write off interest, you have to pay interest, which we weren’t going to do!

We paid cash for our motorhome!We finally found an older motorhome that met all our requirements and was less than what we had saved — score! It isn’t pretty but it is so much fun.

I happened to win a gift certificate recently from Keeper of the Home for $100 of material from Marie Madeline Studio. Perfect timing and we are so thankful. I am ordering material to make all new curtains and pillows to make our motorhome more our own.

I forgot my camera on our first outing so I used my phone to take some. Here are our kids, sitting around the fire, on a 95° day — making memories! I blogged about that first trip here.

As for how we saved the money, first off, we live below our means. That was hard when DH was laid off for 7 months and ended up taking a job making 1/2 of what he was making previously. But God always provided. I have a small photography business that was able to keep us afloat and we actually doubled our savings during those months that he was out of work.

We use cash, shop sales, don’t have cable or even a media package on our cell phone (this shocks people the most, I think). Our cars are older but paid off and we are just normally pretty frugal people.

Leslie has been married to her best friend for 13 years and they have three great kids, ages 10, 7, and 5. They are just about to start their 4th year of homeschooling and she has also owned her own photography business since October 2006. She loves the Lord, her family, and truly loves her life. She is very blessed and tries to not forget it as she is breaking up the umpteenth sibling fight of the day. 😉

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

We Paid Cash! :: A New-to-Us Car

We paid cash!Testimonial from Christina

Last month my husband and I bought a car in cold hard cash. As a young couple, it was our first big purchase and a very stressful one.

The Background

For the holidays last year we decided to skip the gifts and pay off all the random credit cards that we had been ignoring. Once we were debt-free, my husband and I started to save money as our New Year’s Resolution.

We tracked every penny we spent in a nice little excel spread sheet. Eventually our drive-thru breakfast and Chinese take-out habits had stopped and we ate a lot of pasta dinners.

Our Goal

In May he started a new job with a long commute. His beat-up car was getting the job done but then the summer heat really kicked in and his lack of air conditioning made the 45-minute drive on black leather seats unbearable.

At this point, we had about $10,000 saved. After much research, we decided the best thing for us was to buy used, but we didn’t want to spend all of our savings in one place. We agreed on of a budget of $6,000 total off the lot, and so the hunt began…

We paid cash for our car!Our Purchase

After about two dozen used car lots, half a dozen pushy salesmen and one potential buy (the car was mysteriously “sold” when we asked for the car facts), we found her in one of those free used car magazines at our grocery store.

The next day we went to take a look, even though the dealership was closed for Memorial Day weekend. Our little gem was in a packed lot outside of an auto body shop and boy, she was a beauty. A blue 2002 Volkswagen Jetta with 70,000 miles.  Her price tag: $6,000.

After a week of bargaining, we got her for $6,000 including taxes, fees and we even got them to throw in a 90-day warranty.

What We Gained

I was grateful we found her. I was starting to get discouraged and our 6 grand seemed like pennies in the overwhelming world of car shopping. But we stood our ground, hit the pavement and didn’t let anyone talk us into anything we weren’t comfortable with.

Christina, 23, and Michael, 25, live in New Jersey, have been married for two years and are expecting their first child in September.

Ask the Readers: Is organic milk worth the extra price tag?

I have a question that maybe your readers could answer: Is organic milk worth the price?

There is such a huge difference in price between conventional and organic milk and I wonder if there is any difference in quality. I recently read somewhere that there is no difference and that standard milk does not contain any hormones.

Buying organic milk takes up the biggest part of our grocery budget and it would be wonderful if it turns out that conventional milk is the same! -Sheri

Please note: I thought this would make for an interesting discussion, so have at it. However, as always, keep your comments cordial. If you can disagree in a friendly manner, go for it. But if you leave a comment screaming at someone that if they don’t purchase raw grass-fed milk from a goat in their backyard they are going to fall over dead tomorrow, you’re likely going to have your comment deleted. 🙂